The calamity of climate change is upon us. After the devastating fires in the Amazon forest and the California wildfires, deadly bushfires have engulfed the country of Australia, burning 12.35 million acres of land. The fire has killed at least 23 people, half a million animals and has destroyed more than 1,400 homes.
The fires, which were triggered in August, have shown no signs of slowing down. An emergency has been declared in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, as arid weather and strong winds continue to create catastrophic fire conditions.
The hashtag #PrayForAustralia started trending soon after the fires became uncontrollable, and several people have taken to twitter to share disturbing stories, pictures, and videos about what is going on.
I want to give some perspective for people not from Australia.— Bodie Ashton (@manwithoutatan) January 1, 2020
More Aussie land is currently burning than exists in the entire country of Belgium. The smoke is causing breathing problems in New Zealand, 2,000km away. Half a billion animals have been killed. Eight people are dead.
In a thread on Twitter, which has been widely, shared, Australian historian Bodie Ashton explained the devastating extent of the fires for those outside of the country. He explained how more land is currently burning than exists in the entire country of Belgium! And people from the country of New Zealand, which is 2,000 km away, are experiencing breathing problems.
Okay the #GoldenGlobes are over. Now we can get back to what really matters, like how the skies of New Zealand have turned orange and #bushfire smoke has reached Chile. Chile, people. That's across the Pacific.— Zack CT (@TheCriticalReel) January 6, 2020
One twitter user made an alarming observation: the smoke from the bushfires have reached all the way across the pacific ocean and are affecting the country of Chile.
The #Melbourne air has gotten visibly worse from the #bushfire smoke. Air Quality Index (AQI) now sits at 198, and is forecasted to hit as high as 400-500 later in the week. 😷😷😷— Enoch Ko (@EnochKo) January 6, 2020
.#bushfires #bushfiresaustralia #bushfiresmoke #australia pic.twitter.com/nZW0OkpyJE
A user shared a picture of the city of Melbourne covered in a thick blanket of smoke.
If breathing hazardous carcinogenic smoke for 40 days doesn't kill us, then maybe— 💧🌈 Gary Rockliff♿☮️ (@GazmanRocks) January 6, 2020
are our current water filtration systems will. Can they stop the minute carcinogenic shit that has gotten into our catchment area's before we drink and bath? #Bushfire https://t.co/WtmxIGuNQT
This person explained how not only the air quality, but the water being consumed by citizens is also turning toxic.
Mum! There’s a koala in the garden! This is Jimmy - usually resident at #potoroopalace near Merimbula - temporarily housed in a back yard while #bushfire threatened the area. With the fire risk easing - he should be home tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/He1cMQamA5— Simon Atkinson (@atko1978) January 6, 2020
The most heartbreaking part about this entire tragedy is the catastrophic loss of wildlife. The fires have caused the death of around five million animals, while others are being forced to flee their natural habitat. This Koala, for example, was seen taking refuge in someone's backyard.
The Sikh community, which is known for providing social service during times of crisis all over the world, stepped up in Australia to help those in need. Truly noble souls!
This user has shared a 3D visualisation of the fire obtained by NASA satellite data, showing the extent of the fires in the country.
Another user shared a gut-wrenching video of a visibly injured wombat feebly crossing a road.
If you're finding it hard to imagine just how bad the fires are--let these shocking pictures educate you.
If your heart is aching for Australia, but you feel helpless as you are thousands of kilometres away, worry not. There are plenty of organisations that are accepting donations to carry out rescue and relief work. Here is a list of trusted organisations you can donate at:
St Vincent de Paul Society
Victorian Bushfire Appeal
South Australia CFS
Australia doesn't just need your thoughts and prayers, it needs your help! Do your bit by volunteering if you are in the country, or by donating to relief funds or simply by spreading the word and creating awareness about the calamity.
Featured Image: Twitter
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